Assessing the Challenges, Barriers, and Opportunities Associated with Distributing and Sourcing Local Food

1/17/2024 6:26:00 AM Hannah Wirth

University of Illinois ExtensionAcademic mentor: Sharon Suiwen Zou

Community partner: Illinois Extension Community and Economic Development Unit 

Project Description: 
The proposed study aims to strengthen small farms -commercial food services - consumers linkages to enhance the local food value chain (particularly the farm-to-table movement) and increase the profitability of small farms in Illinois counties located close to St. Louis (Madison, St. Clair, and Monroe Counties). The objectives for year 1 are to evaluate consumers' awareness, attitudes, expectations, and willingness to pay related to local food dining consumption and engage both small-sized farmers (in rural Illinois and Missouri) and full-service restaurants in the Greater St. Louis Area to assess the challenges, barriers, and opportunities of distributing and sourcing local food. For summer 2024, we will continue to conduct a nationwide study to assess consumers' awareness, preferences, attitudes, expectations, and willingness-to-pay related to local food dining consumption. We will use a developmental mixed-methods design, beginning with a qualitative study (i.e., interviews) followed by a quantitative study (i.e., surveys).

Role of the Community-Academic Scholar:
The Community-Academic Scholar will assist with qualitative data analysis; assist with reporting and disseminating findings; assist with survey design; assist with survey data cleaning and coding as well as analysis.